All paths lead nowhere, choose with heart

blargtown October 25, 2011

Filed under: Climbing,Trips — sendann @ 4:24 pm
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In the last week, I have come up against some kind of less-than-stoked wall. I think one reason is over-exposure to plastic. On some spiritual, biological level, I am allergic to indoor climbing. It gives me stabbing pains in my fingers and a watering in my eyes and an over-all malaise in my life when I do it more than a few times a year. Which has been great the last two and a half years that I haven’t been doing it. But this ABS thing had me crimping neon three times in the last 6 weeks, and it’s caught up with me something awful. My hand hurts, and I’m having these rogue thoughts that rock climbing is not that awesome after all.

Which is odd, because I swear I had a genuinely awesome time at the Athens comp at Active Climbing, the coolest gym ever with the silliest name. The owner is super low key, non-ego guy named Adrian, psyched on having a gym that serves the folks of Athens. He reminds me a little of Luis from La Posada. The setters and workers all seemed happy and talk about how awesome their gym is even when they’re outside. And the lines I did that day were some of the funnest, hardest gym lines I’ve played on before (special props to the brown dihydral (O-3 I think), and the pale blue overhang in the kiddy room (O-17, which I could not do sogood!!!). So it was an awesome day on fun routes. I got creamed, like, creamed corn in a blender, by a couple of high school girls from Atlanta. What’s with me always getting beaten by enormous German women? Remember the dyno comp? I’m sayin! God bless them they were fun to climb with all day. They live for plastic and don’t know anything about the world of outdoor climbing or, apparently, their approximate geographical location. So the day was decent. But with no swag and only one modest cash prize, I was annoyed to have gone all the way down there for one expensive day on plywood. I told my mother about it and she said,

“Well my dear, this is only the beginning. You shall suffer many more defeats at the hands of the young.”

Another awesome thing, however, was that I got to climb with this amazing girl in the Youth D division named Helen. Helen is – I’m callin it right now – the future of climbing. We met when I complimented her outfit. She had on argyle tights and a sparkly skirt with her team t-shirt, and a Chimp Crimps owl chalk bag.  She was quick to tell me she has an endorsement deal with Chimp Crimps and touted the value of their stuffed animal chalk bags. At the end of the comp, Alex pulled down his circus silk and trapeze, and showed his skills to the chilluns. Helen, it turns out, is also a skilled circus acrobat, and did some pretty radical, terrifying tricks while we waiting for awards time.

alex watching, helen on the trapeze

That’s one thing that’s been a real blessing from the ABS comps – getting to spend time around kids. I miss teaching gymnastics, and having that energy around me of young folks crushing at some athletic something. Also, always at these comps, kids and parents approach me with the most amazing compliments: that they were super inspired or enjoyed watching me or were pulling for me in the finals and stuff like that, which is so SO nice to hear and definitely stokes the climbing fire. ABS has been overall a very encouraging, fun and validating experience. But I’m glad to be done with the plastic game for a looooong while.

for her style, psych & skill, Helen is easily one of my top climbing heros

I’m not sure why else I might be feeling the blargs. A few visits to Blowing Rock this week and, hopefully, some project fun, will probably snap me out of it. Oh! Alex and I went to LRC on Sunday and I got to finish a couple things I’d ignored on Triple Crown day in favor of high volume. I also found a project that I am in love with. It’s called Grimace, and it’s a  series of sloper rails, like a slightly longer Gibbs Cave. I did all but the last move to a jug, and I hope I get back there soon to finish it up. It’s in this lovely, tiny cave and hang on I’ll look for a picture of it to show you….

I can’t find one, but it’s a very popular line. I’ll take a picture next time I go.
Alright I feel a little better now. Mom and I, whenever we talk lately, have been consoling ourselves through trials by remembering that sooner than later, we shall be in Hawaii.

bye bye plastic and tweakage!


De Neu! July 25, 2010

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 9:44 pm
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Last week I got in a 15 passenger van with GLAM Climb of Austin for a road trip to New River Gorge! This third ever, but second official I think, Homoclimbtastic Summer Conference was the largest queer rock climbing event in the world, with about 70 people coming out (heh) over three days. I’d say there were only four or five of us straight groupies, and a few non-climbers around just looking to get laid. Regardless of the motivation for going, I think everyone left satisfied.

Group shot for DeadPoint Magazine, remixed with Rainbow Bright

I made amazing new friends, and climbed on the most glorious 5.10s on the planet – 90 foot orange sandstone walls with these sticky (even in the heat) crimps, towering over the lake.

And I surprised myself by nailing every move of a classic 13a called Apollo Reed on the first try. I wasn’t even all that pumped, although I fell about five times and couldn’t seem to make the last perma-draw gate to open. After five minutes fighting with it, turning it, trying the other way or another hand, I climbed past it a ways onto a knobby easy headwall. I still couldn’t get the gate to open, so I let out a string of expletives and took a huge, airy whipper into space, with twenty-five gay climbers applauding. Man, I am a sucker for an audience.

Me on Apollo. Those navy blue corduroy pants are from J.Crew outlet. I have them in gray also, and hoping they're flexi enough to boulder in all winter. They should hold up better than last year's Gap climbing cords (via Goodwill) did (but that's another post). The sports bra is from Academy, pack of 3 for $12!

I can be super sensitive to the scene at a climb, in a good or bad way. Usually bad. I tend to stick to climbing with one other person. Crowds freak me out. I never know if I should try to impress people or be impressed or what. I mostly just feel self conscious and embarrassed and leave, or get narcoleptic on a crash pad. But sometimes the right crowd is, like, all I need. When I got through the first crux, a random, awesome kneebar over a shield that gets you into the meat of the climb, all the gays applauded. I started laughing and kind of kept smiling the whole time. I cruised through the next few moves, made a few more clips, then threw for a ledge but caught a crimp and ripped off. It was the end of the day and I considered stopping.

That first little crux on Apollo. SO much fun. (Alex Chavez)

“Girl, boink up that rope right now.” So I did. With some beta from Mike Abell, who had flashed this pile the day before with that particular kind of determination and skill I associate with having lived in a rock gym since age 11, I got through the next section. The route is very similar to what I climb in Austin at Flat Creek. It was, if you know the area, like four Scapegoats end to end. It felt super easy and I wasn’t scared at any of the clips – a common stopper crux for me. I finished it up and lowered after my huge whipper.

The next morning at the group breakfast they gave out awards for the Homoclimbtastic Anti-Comp, to honor notable moments of fabulous from the trip. For what came out of my mouth when I still couldn’t deal with that stiff gate, I won a bag of Beta Clothing and Prana swag. I called my dad to tell him about it. He said he was proud but didn’t want to know what I’d said to earn it.